Anglo-Portuguese Society: An Evening In Belgravia

Lynne Booker


An Evening in Belgravia


It is not very often that Peter Booker can be persuaded to leave his adopted home in the hills to the north of Tavira, especially if it is to visit the UK. However, the Chairman of the Anglo-Portuguese Society, Ben Millington Buck, managed to double the average number of Peter´s visits to England from once every 12 years to once every 6 years. Peter spoke on the Sephardic Diaspora to an audience of 25 at the headquarters of the Anglo-Portuguese Society at Canning House in Belgrave Square, London on 8 March this year.


The Anglo-Portuguese Society was founded in 1938 to promote friendship between Portugal and the UK and to increase knowledge in Britain of Portuguese culture and traditions. The Anglo-Portuguese Society today has some 600 members, mainly Portuguese and British, and it aims to interest people for all ages and backgrounds in a varied programme of events and talks. Children in need in both Portugal and Brazil benefit from the funds raised by the Society in Britain.


Chairman Ben has a home in the Algarve and as he spends some of his time here, he has been able to attend a number of Peter´s talks. He was particularly interested in one of Peter´s most popular talks, ´The Sephardic Diaspora from Portugal´. The Diaspora was of grave consequence to Portugal (and indeed to Spain) in terms of the impoverishment of its economy and social and cultural life. Other countries, particularly the Ottoman Empire, Holland and then England, benefited from Jewish trading links and entrepreneurial skills whereas the economies of Iberia went into a decline from which they are only just emerging.


Peter´s talk was well received and the President of the Anglo-Portuguese Society has asked him to return to the UK shortly to give another talk on Portugal´s fascinating past and to look at ways of fostering closer links between the Society and the Algarve History Association.